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Propane Autogas: The cleaner and easier alternative fuel

The popularity of propane autogas vehicles is increasing throughout the country. Fleets are discovering that propane autogas offers the lowest total cost-of-ownership available, reduced emissions and year-round reliability. Some of these fleets come from school buses, law enforcement, commercial delivery vehicles, or anyone who desires to convert their vehicle to run on propane. Landmark Services Cooperative recently had the opportunity to have Roger Hildreth, one of our Energy Products Specialists, speak with Pam Jahnke during the morning Farm Report on the benefits of propane autogas. “We can help from start to finish and we have different financing options,” stated Roger Hildreth.

There are many hidden costs associated with a vehicle over its lifetime. Aside from propane autogas consistently costing less than diesel, avoiding hidden maintenance costs will make the autogas engine edge out diesel. A typical diesel school bus oil change is 20 quarts. The propane autogas oil change is only 7 quarts and has a longer drain interval. Not only will you spend less on oil, you will not have to deal with the environmental burden of managing the disposal of waste oil. “The maintenance of the propane vehicle, that’s where you start to see the savings,” commented Roger Hildreth.

Propane autogas is a clean burning alternative fuel. Everyone benefits from the lower exhaust emissions from propane powered school buses, particularly the students and the bus drivers.  In addition, bus drivers enjoy the quieter operation of their buses that run on propane autogas. This allows bus drivers to focus on the road as well as more easily hear and communicate with the students creating a more pleasant and safer ride for all.

Benefits of autogas are also seen on cold weather operability. Diesel fuel needs to be treated and equipment also needs to be plugged in on cold nights to keep them warm and ready to start in the morning. Propane autogas vehicles start up instantly and the cabin warms up quickly. Technicians won’t have to spend time out in the cold to get the buses started and your electricity bill will be lower due to not having to use block heaters to warm the vehicles.

Summary of Benefits of Propane Autogas

  • Takes less oil (7 quarts compared to 20+ for diesel)
  • No DEF or additional exhaust filters
  • Maintenance friendly engines
  • No electric block heaters (saves on electricity costs)
  • Propane contracting helps manage fuel costs
  • Tax Incentives
  • Clean burning alternative fuel
  • Low emissions equals reduced carbon footprint
  • Less waste oil to dispose
  • No cold start issues in winter (propane does not gel)
  • Cabin heats up faster in winter (improved driver and student comfort)
  • More throttle response for better pick-up
  • Quieter running engine (more pleasant and safer ride for driver and students)
  • Cleaner exhaust enables longer allowable idling times

To learn more about propane autogas and connect with a Landmark Services Cooperative Energy Products Specialist, call 1.800.236.3276 or email energyinfo@landmark.coop.

Posted in Blog, Energy & Retail

Equine Health: Understanding Essential Nutrients

Landmark hosted an equine education meeting in early April and Landmark was fortunate to have great speakers and topics. In this second edition of the equine meeting recap, Amino Acids and Omega Amino Acids are covered by Dr. Amy Gill of Kalambach Feeds- Tribute Equine. (Part 2 of 3)

What are Amino Acids? Amino acids are building blocks from which proteins are constructed. When they are put together in a short chain they form a peptide. A peptide is proteins used by the horse. There are ten essential amino acids – essential meaning the body doesn’t create its own and requires supplement from the diet. Horses have an essential amino acid requirement: Lysine, Threonine and Methionine. All amino acids must be available at the same time in order to form the needed proteins.

  • Protein quality – refers to how well the protein matches the needs of the horse.
  • Higher digestibility – higher absorption of amino acids to help form needed proteins.

*Soybean meal has the most complimentary amino acid profile to the needs of the horse.

Protein Deficiency can:

  • Decrease growth despite adequate energy
  • Lead to weight loss in older horses
  • Fetal loss in pregnant mares
  • Decrease milk production
  • Loss of muscle in exercising horses

Indicators of Deficiency:

  • Reduced feed intake
  • Poor hair growth
  • Developmental disorders

Proteins are however NOT an energy source. Excess protein in the diet increases urination due to increased water consumption to rid the body of urea (aka that strong ammonia odor you smell from time to time). High ammonia concentrations can cause respiratory problems.

Omega Essential Fatty Acids

Omega 3 can be converted by the horse’s body into a usable form that can be more readily absorbed.

  • Reduce inflammation in the body by helping the body to produce compounds called prostaglandins.
  • Help create a more permeable cell membrane – brings healthy nutrients in – sends waste products out.

Omega 6 are oils such as corn, canola, soybean and rice– not all oils are created equal!

  • Make pro inflammatory mediators for the immune system.
  • Doesn’t cause inflammation, rather they provide the substrate needed to mount an inflammatory response if and when needed. Inflammation is an important process, the body uses it to fight infection and mediate tissue repair.

Roles of Omega 3 & 6 Fatty Acids:

  • Immune system regulation
  • Cell membrane stability
  • Development and maintenance of central nervous system
  • Modulate inflammation
  • Hormone regulation

Feeding Omega 3 & 6 have shown to help:

  • Improve skin and coat quality
  • Decrease joint pain in arthritic individuals
  • Improve bone formation
  • Reproductive benefits
  • Prevention of gastric ulcers
  • Alleviate allergic hyperactivity
  • Supports horses in heavy work
  • Reduces exercise induced bronchial constriction
  • Accelerate recovery from exercise
  • Increase affinity of oxygen to the red blood cells

Next month we will look at the dental health of horses with Dr. Travis Henry.

Posted in Animal Nutrition, Blog, Landmark News

It’s Show Time! Tips for a Successful Fair Show

Spring time is an exciting time if you are involved in the fair. There’s plenty of prep work to be done and seemingly not enough hours leading up to show time. We have put together a few nuggets of information to help ease the journey ahead.

Show Steer – If you are calving yourself, your show animal would’ve been born the prior spring. By now, it’s well on its way to the show ring. If you purchased your animal, then it’s time to get started on a Landmark feeding program to get them ready for fair. Below we provide a list of recommendations for feeding and basic management of your upcoming show project. See our “Questions to ask the breeder” for some great tips.

Fair Pigs – Fair goers that raise their own pigs, by now, have already started a feeding and management program to ensure their pig is ring ready. For those of you purchasing club pigs, this is for you! Generally speaking you’ll want to get your piglet(s) around 7-8 weeks of age or 30-40 pounds and will need a strategy to finish out your prospect. See our “Questions to ask the breeder” for some great tips.

Show Lamb – By now the lambs are already on the ground and ready to be started for the upcoming show season. See our “Questions to ask the breeder” for some great tips. ***Make sure that your grain is copper free!

Fair Chickens – At this point in the game you should already have your chicks on order or plan to have them available for pickup within the next couple of weeks. For a broiler, you’ll want your birds to be a minimum of 42 days old and a maximum of 70 days old for a roaster. Here is a helpful link that provides the “bread and butter” to raising your broilers and roasters successfully.

GENERAL QUESTIONS TO ASK THE BREEDER

  • Has the animal been dewormed or vaccinated?
  • Has the animal been altered/castrated?
  • What kind of feed has the animal been on? Meal, Pellets, Textured
    • What if any, kind of forage?
  • Do you offer any services after the sale?
    • Are they willing to be a resource for future questions/concerns?

FAIR PREP

  • Dry and draft-free pen is set up and ready to go with
    • Fresh straw/shavings or both
    • Establish a feeding spot for your animal
      • Should be a relatively clean, free from manure/urine and water runoff.
      • Landmark feed ready to be fed out (by hand is best) before you bring your animal/s home.
    • Periodically weigh your animals, so you can track their rate of gain. Also, it helps your feed efficiency and management. Determining whether you should “push” or “hold” them then becomes an easy decision.

ANIMAL PREP

  • Washing
    • Pigs – Once weekly and keep them cool in the upcoming warm months.
    • Cattle – Washing your animal twice a week in preparation for show day (helps prepare the animal mentally as well as their coat).
    • Lambs – Refer to your fair rules for sheared or not sheared.
    • Chickens – Bath prior to show day and keep bedding fresh to maintain cleanliness.
  • Quality Time – ALL animals
    • Quality time spent – Not enough emphasis is put on spending time with your animal. They will handle better, trust you and will bring better satisfaction in the show ring.
      • Halter breaking – By now you should be walking your animal roughly 3-5 times per week, increasing it as you get closer to show day
    • Hand feeding- Consistent feeding times are a MUST
    • Time spent grooming and walking your animal
  • Animal Comfort
    • Animal comfort especially during higher stress scenarios is crucial. The following link discusses animal comfort at the fair especially during the hot summer days during the fair.

FAIR DETAILS TO REMEMBER…

  • Min/max weight limit
  • Date for final entry – by county
  • Know who your project leader is for your club (they are a great resource!)
  • Please review your local county fair book to know other entry requirements!

Prepping for the fair is an exciting, fun and educational process. It also involves a substantial amount of work both physically and mentally. If you are new to showing animals, it’s always best to spend time talking with those folks who are experienced in the process. Ask lots of questions and never assume you know it all regardless of how experienced you are. There are tons of tips and tricks even a seasoned shower can add to their tool belt. For more information about our fair feed products or if you’re looking for advice, don’t be afraid to reach out to any of our Animal Nutrition experts!

*Please make sure to wash hands after handling animals before you eat or drink!

Posted in Animal Nutrition, Blog

Small Space, Big Comfort: Ductless Mini-Split

As a heating and cooling contractor in Wisconsin we often say that heating is a necessity and air conditioning is a luxury. A traditional heating and cooling system is commonly referred to as a split system; a split system is a combination of an air conditioner or heat pump outside synced with a furnace or air handler inside your home. The traditional system does not always accommodate for spaces that ductwork is neither practical nor possible. Some common examples of these spaces would be homes with a new addition, a bonus room over the garage, a home with baseboard heat or homes built on a concrete slab. New technology has provided a solution to make heating and cooling available to everyone without the expensive costs of installing ductwork, this new technology is called a Ductless Mini-Split.


The Ductless Mini-Split system provides effective, and efficient heating and cooling to individual zoned areas. The way this system works is by extracting heat from inside your home and transferring it to the outside air during cooling season. The system will reverse its cycle in the heating season by collecting outdoor heat and transfers it inside the home. Ductless Mini-Splits use inverter technology, by heating and cooling in small increments. Each system can be customized by the number of indoor units installed. Systems can consist of just a single indoor unit to add heat/cooling to one room, or multiple indoor units to cover an entire house. Each indoor unit is its own heating/cooling zone and is controlled by an individual wall mounted thermostat or remote. Indoor units measure both the temperatures inside and outside and then adjust the motor speed accordingly. Precisely matching output to demand allows the unit to run at a high level of efficiency. Indoor units can be mounted on the wall as well as the ceiling or floor.
Installing a Ductless Mini-Split can be completed without any modifications to the house or individual room. The indoor and outdoor units are connected by one refrigerant line, which will only require one small hole on the outside of the house, and one hole inside the house behind each indoor unit. Because there is no ductwork the air that is transferred through this system is much cleaner than a forced air system. Another key feature that a Ductless system is well known for is their low level of noise; indoor units generate approximately 29 decibels of sound and the outdoor unit generates around 51 decibels of sound. To give you a better idea of how quiet these units are: a whisper is estimated to be around 20 decibels, and a light rain is around 30 decibels.

Please give us a call at 608-251-9010 for more information.

Posted in Blog, Energy & Retail

Seeking Applicants for Charles Van Sickle Scholarship

The Federated Youth Foundation, Inc. is seeking applicants for the second annual Charles Van Sickle Scholarship. The $2,000 scholarship will be awarded to a pre-law or law student who has an interest in cooperative law. The scholarship is made possible by an endowment established in 2013 to honor Wisconsin’s renowned electric cooperative lobbyist and attorney, the late Charles Van Sickle. The scholarship will be awarded in June of 2017.

Click HERE for the scholarship application with additional eligibility information. The application deadline is June 1, 2017.

Posted in Landmark News